I’ve been waiting for mango season to roll around, and in my neck of the woods, it finally has! One of the best perks about living in a tropical country is that we’ve got mangoes all year round, however the best and sweetest of the crop are harvested around this time. The mangoes here in the Philippines are gorgeously shaped, yellow and very fragrant; with an addictive sweetness that makes them extremely hard to resist.
Mangoes are one of my favourite fruits in the whole universe; second only to Chinese Honey Oranges, or ponkan. As a child though, mangoes were my uncontested favourite. I would often have it with my bowl of rice, kind of like Japanese maki only in a big messy pile. Now that I think about it, maybe this was what paved the way to my intense love for Japanese cuisine, especially the sushi with bursts of mango within. Is my mango-adoring childhood one of the reasons why yellow is my favourite colour? Quite possibly.
But I digress.
I only hope you do not think I am biased when I say, this is one of the best quick breads I have ever had in my life! I want to point out, it is simply the truth.
I don’t think I even need to profess again how much I love Dorie Greenspan. I’ve said it plenty of times before. However, of all the recipes I’ve made from her book thus far, this has got to be the best one yet. In fact I made it twice within a week at the urging of my Mother! When I sent a few slices to my Aunt, it did not occur to her until the last bite that the lovely yellow specks in the bread were mangoes. To her defense, they had started to look like canned peach bits.
Aside from the mangoes, the highlight of the bread is really its perfect balance of spices, plus the touch of sweetness added by the raisins. Not only did the bread smell amazing out of the oven, it really is just sooooo good! Definitely a keeper, this one!
The only thing that I really want to point out is to let the bread cool before cutting into it. Or better yet, cut into the next day, when it is even more scrumptious. Dorie points this out in her notes as well. Also, cutting the bread too thin might cause the slices to fall apart, because it is a very soft and moist bread. A little over half an inch slices should be fine after the bread has had a long rest, but make thicker slices if you’re slicing the bread fresh from the oven to be sure it doesn’t break.
Also, I did use a smaller loaf pan than specified the first time I made this, which was a mistake because it does rise quite a bit in the oven. A bit of my batter actually spilled off the edge (thank goodness the baking pan was there to catch it!). If you’re using a smaller pan, the batter should fill about a little over halfway to just 3/4′s of your pan, to be safe.
Fresh Mango Bread
from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours, page 45 | Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf
3 large eggs
3/4 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower oil
2 1/2 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
2 cups diced mango (from 1 large or 2 1/2 medium peeled and pitted mangoes)
3/4 cup moist, plump raisins*
Grated zest of 1/2 a lime
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess, making sure every part of the pan is covered. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over-baking).
2. Begin by dicing the mangoes. Set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs and oil together.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Rub the brown sugar between your palms into the bowl, breaking up any lumps, then stir it in.
5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended—the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together.
6. Stir in the mango, raisins and zest. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
7. Bake the bread for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent). Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
Serving: As good as this bread is freshly baked, Dorie feels it is even better the next day.** One day spent wrapped in plastic seems to intensify the fruit and spice flavors. Of course, if you can’t wait, don’t. Just cut the loaf into thick slices and serve with tea, hot or iced, or coffee.
Storing: Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep for about 4 days at room temperature.
*Although the recipe originally calls for golden raisins, I used regular raisins for better contrast of colours. Don’t the slices look nice?
**I agree whole-heartedly!
I do not like to dole out superlative titles to pretty much anything. To be honest, I am kind of skeptical about a recipe that has the word “best” in its title. But that is not to say I don’t make these recipes, because I need to see for myself what justifies it being tagged as “the best”. But when it comes to recipes that deserve glorification, I am not one to hold back on the good words. And for the record, this is one of those recipes. It is simply a fantastic, out of this world creation. Thanks, Dorie!